Critical Habitat projects are our state’s primary tool for conserving important fish and wildlife habitat. These projects protect the rich and diverse habitats in our forests, prairies, and wetlands. These funds help maintain our state’s biodiversity and protect species that are popular for hunting, birding, and other outdoor recreation, and are critical for the health of our salmon and fish populations.
The South Puget Sound Prairies is a joint project between WDFW & WDNR. Several other agencies/organizations are committed to restoration and conservation of south Puget Sound Prairie communities including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Fort Lewis, and Thurston County Parks. TNC, with the assistance of several partners, drafted the “South Puget Sound Prairies Site Conservation Plan” to serve as the basis for future conservation and restoration efforts. This regional plan highlights 4 additions to existing prairie and oak woodland reserves: Tenalquot: Though there has been little reconnaissance of this privately owned land, native prairie plant communities are probably in poor condition. Appropriate prairie soils are extensive, so the likelihood of successful restoration is high. Scatter Creek has high quality native prairie (Idaho fescue-white-topped aster grassland) and a Riparian Protection strip of mature oak. West Rocky: includes approximately 300 acres of mounded prairie, 400 acres of wetlands, and 40 acres of oak woodland. Mima Mounds contains high quality Idaho fescue-Puget Balsamroot prairie and land with high potential for prairie restoration. Many species of plants and animals dependent on the prairie and oak woodland communities are found on these sites. This list of rare species includes 2 federally threatened, 3 federal candidate, and 5 species of concern. This project by DNR will target the Mima Mounds properties.